KANSAS CITY, MO -- Texas A&M’s Joseph Jones (Normangee, Texas) and A’Quonesia Franklin (Tyler, Texas) are among the nation’s top 30 senior male and female college basketball players in contention for the 2007-08 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award.
A&M was one of four schools to place both a male and female student-athlete on the roster of candidates along with Tennessee, Ball State and the U.S. Military Academy. The award is presented annually to senior student-athletes who excel in four areas: classroom, community, character and competition. Jones and Franklin are both preseason All-Big 12 Conference standouts for the nationally-ranked Aggie Basketball programs and are actively involved in the Bryan-College Station community. Jones is majoring in agricultural leadership and will graduate in December, while Franklin is majoring in recreation, park and tourism sciences and will graduate in May.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the award was launched during the 2001-02 season to honor the attributes of college basketball seniors who remain committed to their university and pursue the many rewards that a senior season and complete college education brings. Now in its seventh year for basketball, the award has developed into the nation’s premier tribute for college seniors.
From the list of 30 nominees for each gender, a national media committee will select 10 finalists for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award in January 2008. Those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot for a nationwide vote during the NCAA Tournament in March. Fan balloting will be coupled with votes from coaches and media to determine the male and female recipients. Lowe’s, an official corporate partner of the NCAA, will award the winners with trophies during the respective men’s and women’s NCAA Final Four weekends.
The award was conceived by sportscaster Dick Enberg, who continues to serve as Honorary Chairman. It was inspired by the remarkable story of former Duke University basketball player Shane Battier, who could have been an NBA lottery pick, but returned to college for his senior season and led the Blue Devils to the National Championship in 2001.
Previous winners of the men’s award include Maryland’s Juan Dixon (2002), Xavier’s David West (2003), Saint Joseph’s Jameer Nelson (2004), Kansas’ Wayne Simien (2005), Duke’s J.J. Reddick (2006) and Wisconsin’s Alando Tucker (2007). Past recipients of the women’s award include Connecticut’s Sue Bird (2002), Mississippi State’s LaToya Thomas (2003), Duke’s Alana Beard (2004), Kansas State’s Kendra Wecker (2005), LSU’s Seimone Augustus (2006) and Duke’s Alison Bales (2007).